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'We have nowhere to go' | Neighbors react to Family Dollar fire in Norfolk

The fire is impacting residents, leaving them without a place to find basic goods.

NORFOLK, Va. — Flames and smoke have left several shops out of business at the Church Street Shopping Center in Norfolk. The shops sit near the Calvert Square section of the city.

Right now, fire marshals are searching for what caused the fire.

The destruction from the fire at Family Dollar caused four other businesses to shut down. Norfolk firefighters say they responded to Church Street just before 5:30 p.m. on Monday

But the fire is also impacting residents, leaving them without a place to find basic goods.

“Which is sad because that’s one of the convenience stores we use. Everybody in the neighborhood used to go and get their goods," said Norfolk resident Michelle Corum. 

Corum said she lives across from the shopping center and saw the smoke and flames from her home.

“Thank God it wasn’t worse because if it was, some of us we would have to evacuate," said Corum. 

Norfolk firefighters said no one was hurt. However, Corum said the closure of the Family Dollar is causing some safety concerns.

“A lot of us out here -- most people don’t like going to the corner convenience. We do sometimes, but we prefer not to. It was convenient because the shorter distance back because of the shootings that are going on out here sometimes..." said Corum. 

Resident Ricky Skinner said the shutdown causes more issues for people who need to get basic supplies.

“It’s bad because most people out here have no transportation. All of them are on set income. They worked all their life, they get social security. They have no automobiles and lord cab fare is extremely high," said Skinner. 

Skinner and others hope authorities find out what happened.

“We have nowhere to go... It’s bad. We need all the help we can possibly get," said Skinner. 

A Norfolk fire department spokesperson said these types of incidents can sometimes take several days to complete an investigation. Their statement is below: 

"NFR responded yesterday evening just before 5:30 pm to 720 Church St for a reported commercial structure fire and found heavy smoke visible on arrival. It took crews just under two hours to ensure the fire was completely contained, and they were able to prevent the spread of fire to the adjacent businesses. However, the fire remains under investigation with our Fire Marshal Office, and these incidents can sometimes take several days to complete their investigation. So unfortunately I can provide very few details other than basic information. As for the residents living in that area, it certainly can create more challenges for available grocery options. Perhaps the area’s civic league may have some ideas for how to assist those residents," said Norfolk Fired Department Battalion Chief-PIO/Recruiting Officer. 

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